Issue: What elements are necessary to form a valid breach of contract claim in Virginia?
|Area of Law:||Business Organizations & Contracts, Litigation & Procedure|
|Keywords:||Breach of contract claim; Elements|
|Cited Statutes:||Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-246(2), (4); Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-25|
Under Virginia law, the plaintiff bears the burden to prove each of the essential elements of a breach of contract claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Geske v. Alizon (Va. Cir. Ct. July 6, 2006). There are three essential elements plaintiff must show: (1) there must be a legally enforceable obligation that defendant owes plaintiff; (2) defendant must breach this obligation; and (3) there must be damage caused by the breach. Filak v. George, 594 S.E.2d 610, 619 (Va. 2004). In addition, to maintain an action on breach of contract, plaintiff must bring the action within five years of breach on a written contract and within three years on an oral one. Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-246(2), (4). Further, where the party alleged to have breached a contract is dead, the plaintiff must show that the cause of action against the decedent survived his death. See Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-25; Rutter v. Jones, Blechman, Woltz & Kelly, 568 S.E.2d 693, 695 (Va. 2002).